Wednesday 2.27.13

me-5411

Manipulation, Fear Mongering, The NRA and Wayne LaPierre.

I have been following the post Sandy Hook messages of NRA spokesman, Wayne LaPierre. After the shooting we waited about 1 week to hear the response from the NRA. This was when we heard their suggestion that we need to stop bad guys with guns with good guys with guns. The message from them is clear: get yourself a gun.

Go ahead, get a gun. I really don’t care if you have a gun as long as you have passed the background check, know how to safely operate, handle, store and transport it. If you can do all of the sane and sensible things one should do as a gun owner, no big deal.

What interests me about this whole thing is that Wayne LaPierre and the NRA have chosen to use a very specific manner and method to deliver their message. They use fear mongering to manipulate you into thinking that at this very moment you have to make a choice to live or die. The government is coming to disarm you. Once disarmed, every nut job in the world is coming over to your house to rape, pillage, steal, burn, kill, rob and laugh at your choice of healthy snacks in your kitchen cupboard.

“Our only means of security is the Second Amendment. When the glass breaks in the middle of the night, we have the right to defend ourselves.”

I’d like to take a closer look at what these people are saying. Speeches are great and can motivate people but I think we owe it to ourselves to ask some questions about what they are really talking about. I certainly don’t have all of, if any of the answers but I can ask questions.

Our only means of security is the second amendment? The Second Amendment reads exactly like this: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Twenty seven words long. Beyond those 27 words, untold volumes have been written to explain and interpret the meaning. Of course, this was written back when we were getting out from under the thumb of the King of England and we did not have a standing army. It made sense to arm people in case the British would attack. That was then. At that time, the authors of those 27 words had no idea that we would go on to create weapons and ammunition so devastating as some of what is out there and available to just about anyone. To prevent them from owning these weapons would be infringing.

That argument will go on forever. The problem with that is the NRA will never go into more specific detail about any of it other than “this is what the 2nd Amendment says, so this is the way it should remain.” Beyond that, they are encouraging you to FIGHT for your 2nd Amendment. FIGHT. Not “discuss it in a reasonable manner keeping in mind the types of weapons available now”, but just FIGHT.

In a Forbes op/ed from last August I read: What has been happening is that the NRA, the NSSF and other gun-rights groups have been busy fighting for Second Amendment rights, advocating for participation in the shooting sports, instructing people how to shoot and store firearms safely, working with police officers and the military and doing a myriad of other things. The NRA has also been lobbying, defending the Second Amendment in courtrooms all over the country and growing its membership. As a result, they’ve attracted more Americans to the shooting sports, made the shooting sports safer and helped more people learn to shoot and to defend themselves.

There’s a mixed bag there. Shooting, storing and transporting weapons safely is something any gun owner should know whether they have a gun for sport or for defense. After Sandy Hook, I felt that this would be a great opportunity for the NRA to take the lead in responsible gun ownership. The Forbes article breaks things into two areas: Shooting for sport and owning a gun to defend yourself. What the NRA has done since Sandy Hook is to come out and tell you that the government has failed and will fail you in the future. The “THEY” that the NRA mentions over and over again in their rhetoric covers everyone from the President and Vice President to government “elite” to every other governmental body who has failed to follow-up on anyone using whatever current gun legislation we have. If you don’t agree or question the NRA, you too are now THEY.

When I listen to Wayne LaPierre get up and talk at some hunting convention, I don’t hear him mention anything about hunting. I hear him trying to scare the shit out of people by suggesting that the government is failing you by coming for your weapons or by not registering anyone with a mental condition – who will probably specifically come to your house in the middle of the night and if you don’t have a gun to defend yourself and your family – you’re screwed. But Wayne, I came here to learn about hunting Turkeys…

In his February 23rd speech, LaPierre states: “So picture this: Your name, your address on a map — giving directions to your home that could include a list of the specific firearms you own.” He is talking about the possibility of Universal Background Checks. You own a gun. You register that gun. By registering that gun someone has your information – probably on an electronic database somewhere. No one has taken your gun.

So… we have two or three vehicles. In order for us to operate those vehicles we have to hold a valid drivers license. The State has this information, probably on an electronic database somewhere. It has our ages, where we live and so forth. We also must register and license those vehicles. Again, someone has this information someplace which tells who we are, where we live, the make and model of those vehicles and whether or not we are current in our license and registration. Since our vehicles seem to remain in our driveway day after day, I assume that no one has used any of that information to target us. I guess there are not a lot of PT Cruiser thieves in the area.

I think that money is the at the root of this whole thing. If the NRA can spew enough fear for you to go out and purchase more guns, that means more gun sales. If we limit the sale of certain weapons and magazines and ammunition, that could hurt gun sales. Gun manufacturers also support the NRA with funding – because the NRA sells more guns. The NRA knows how this all works and is in it for the NRA.

I feel kind of ashamed that the NRA would stoop to fear tactics to bolster themselves and gun sales. Suggesting that more and more people should be armed without going into details of how to do this in a sane and sensible manner is just irresponsible. They can stand behind the lectern and make demands on the Government to put people into schools to protect against bad guys but are they willing to fund it? Help fund it? No.

Another line from his February 23rd speech reads: “There’s not a mom or dad that wouldn’t feel better when they dropped their kid off at school and saw a police car in the parking lot. There’s not a mom or dad all over our country in America that doesn’t want their children protected.”

Really? Let me say this, Wayne… I am a Dad from this country. I’ve sent kids to school on a bus. I’ve taken kids to school and picked them up after. I’ve attended sporting events, plays, musical performances, award banquets and graduations. I can’t recall any time I ever noticed a police vehicle sitting in the parking lot. I think I would be more concerned if there actually WAS a police vehicle sitting in the parking lot. I would be thinking “Uh-oh… why are the cops here?”

One response

  1. My High School had an officer. I couldn’t even tell you when he started to appear at school, or sports events, etc. I imagine that his first appearances were met with “Hey… why is the cop here? Who got in trouble?”, but after a while we all became so used to his presence that he was just “there”. And I attended a SMALL school.

    February 28, 2013 at 7:32 am

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